Today we are going to look at Epcot’s World Showcase China Pavilion. When guests enter the area they can do so by going under the gorgeous Chinese Gate of the Golden Sun (Zhao Yan Men) This is a reproduction of the gate at the Summer Palace near Beijing.
After you pass the Gate of the Golden Sun, you cross a bridge that goes over a lotus pool with a Chinese garden. The garden is fashioned to resemble one is Suzhou. There are walkways that branch off and you can walk around the gardens.
If you keep going straight in you will head towards the Temple of Heaven. This is actually the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests building that is part of the Temple of Heaven complex. The circular blue roof is meant to represent sky and heaven and red is the color of royalty. Disney’s version is also about 1/2 the scale of the original.
To make it as authentic as possible the Imagineers silk screened images onto each tile. When you look around the temple you will notice two distinct animal themes- the dragon and the phoenix. Dragons represents power and the phoenix represents prosperity.
Inside Disney’s version of the Temple of Heaven more symbolism can be found. There are 12 columns representing the 12 months of the year, and four inner columns represent the four seasons. At the top of the four pillars are 4 beams that create a square. That represents our Earth and a circular beam above that is meant to symbolize heaven and in the center is a dragon and a phoenix.
In this rotunda section you will find the waiting area for the Circle-Vision 360 film Reflections of China. This amazing film focuses on China’s rich history and scenery. During D23 Tom Fitzgerald announced that a new film would be coming to China. They will be using new technology and a new camera system similar to what they used for Soarin’ Around the World.
Besides Reflections of China, there is the Whispering Willows Gallery. For several years it housed an amazing Tomb Warrior: Guardian Spirits of Ancient China exhibit. The original terracotta tomb warriors were discovered in 1974 in Xi-an China. Archaeologists believe their purpose was to protect Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. In total, over 8,000 soldiers and figures were discovered along with hundreds of chariots and horses.
They are all back to the color of the clay they were sculpted from, but they would have been painted with the colors of the soldiers they represented.
The Disney exhibit was a scaled down replica of the terracotta pits and figures. It opened in 2006 and lasted until 2016. This was one of my favorite things in Epcot and I hope they bring them back someday.
Currently, the Whispering Willows Gallery is home to an exhibit about the new Shanghai Disneyland called Inside Shanghai Disney Resort.
Here’s a video we took last year.
Epcot’s China is also a great spot for shopping and dining.
If you are in the mood to shop stop in Good Fortune Gifts or the House of Good Fortune.
The House of Good Fortune is the larger shop where guests can find gorgeous wood carving and tile work.
Good Fortune Gifts is the smaller outdoor shop. My daughter loves the umbrellas and marionettes.
(image from WDW Theme Parks)
Fantastic Dining is also a part of the China pavilion. There are two restaurants you can choose from.
Nine Dragons Restaurant
This is a full table service restaurant. Disney Parks describes it as:
“Delight in Cantonese, Mongolian, Szechuan, Hunan and Kiangche-style specialties under the soft glow of Chinese lamps.”
It features a lot of the types of food people are used to finding in a Chinese restaurant. You can view the menu HERE.
The counter service restaurant is called the Lotus Blossom Cafe. Grab some quick service Chinese favorites like pot stickers, egg rolls and sesame chicken. You can see the full menu HERE.
In the evening the bridge between China and the Outpost raises up to allow the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, barges to bring out the show pieces onto the World Showcase Lagoon.
The China pavilion is definitely worth the stop. Between it’s amazing food and history, it’s a Must See in Epcot’s World Showcase.
What do you think about the China pavilion? Do you have a favorite part? Comment and let us know what you think!
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